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Cocoa Powder For Stout

Hey all,

I found a recipe that caught my attention for an Imperial Double Chocolate Stout. This will be my first time brewing an all grain recipe from the internet rather than a recipe kit purchased somewhere.

The recipe calls for 16oz unsweetened cocoa powder to be added to the last 16 minutes of boil. Does this sound like too much for a 5 gallon batch? I’ve looked around, and can’t seem to realy find an answer that clears things up.

At the risk of plagiarizing someone’s recipe, here is what it calls for:

13 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
1 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM)
1 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)
1 lbs Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)
1.5 oz Magnum [14.0%] - Boil 90 min
16.00 oz Cocoa Powder, Unsweetend (Boil 16 min)
1 pkgs Safale US-05 (DCL Yeast #US-05)

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

The few times I’ve used cocoa powder it has indeed been the 16oz packages. I’ve done it at 5 mins or at flameout.

The main thing you need to realize about cocoa powder (which, for whatever reason, is almost never mentioned in homebrew discussions on this topic) is that it is alkalized. At least, every cocoa powder I’ve ever seen is. It will sometimes be labeled as “Dutch processed”, and this means exactly the same thing. This means that it will absolutely affect the pH level of the finished beer, in a way you may not desire. I’ve used it in my stouts a few times, but nowhere even close to that amount, more like 1/4 cup or so, just for some pH stability and a subtle cocoa flavor in the beer. Apparently, it might be possible to use a lot more than that without problems. I can’t say, as I’ve never looked too deeply into the matter. I don’t know if any brewing software has the capability to process cocoa powder as a water addition, and determine it’s effect on pH level. I really doubt it. Anyway, I’d advise using a little caution for your first time using it, and maybe use only half a pound. But like I said, there are others who appear to know more on the subject, so take that into consideration.
On a closing note, though (and I can absolutely say this with knowledge gained from experience), if you experience incomplete attenuation in the fermenter, DO NOT bottle the beer until it is as dry as you can reasonably expect from the yeast you’re using, unless you don’t mind having some explosive carbonation in the bottle. There is a fair amount of sugar in cocoa powder- as you would expect- and if there are problems getting the beer to finish fermenting, that residual sugar can make your beer ridiculously overcarbonated once you add more yeast to it at bottling time. Of course, this is true of any kind of unfermented sugar left in a beer before it’s bottled, but when you’re talking about a jet black beer, that explosive foam has a real capacity to permanently stain anything in it’s blast radius. And don’t make the mistake of assuming that the added gravity points that the cocoa powder adds to the beer will stay there into the finished product, like with lactose. This is not the case, unless you just can’t get the beer to finish fermenting even in the bottle. Anyway, I’ve made my point, I think.

FYI…Hershey makes an unsweetened, non-alkalized cocoa powder. I’ve not used this for making beer, but might be the one to try.

Cheers! :cheers:

hersheys does work well.

Watch out for boilover when add cocoa.

Thanks for the tips. Brewed it yesterday, and all went well.

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